“I am somebody cause God don’t make no junk.” ~Ethel Waters
“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.” ~God to Jeremiah
“Love God. Love your neighbor.” ~Jesus
Human life has intrinsic value. Life in Uganda. Life in Iowa. Life in Washington DC and Detroit and Watertown and Kampala. Where there is life, there is value. Whether it’s life in perfect health or life with abnormalities, life has value. Life with family and support and love love love or life with nothing and nobody–it has value.
People have worth and value simply because they are.
I’m pleased to welcome Tiffany today as a guest blogger. Tiffany and her husband, Jander, are currently living and serving in Uganda, showing God’s love to each person they encounter. I was so touched and moved by her latest post, that I wanted to share it with all of you.
Difficult Placesby Tiffany TalenEvery Tuesday morning I go with a couple of my closest friends here to a local babies home. This routine used to be one of my favourite times of the week. We would go, hang out with the kids, help the workers in whatever ways we could, help in the garden and a few hours later we would continue on with the business of our week.But the past few Tuesdays have been extremely difficult for me. We are no longer just popping in to play… we have become a part of that place and a part of these children’s lives. When we walk in we aren’t just seeing a bunch of orphaned and abandoned kids, we see children that we know and love, children who recognize us and long for our familiar attention, children who we’ve been watching grow up over the past six months. It’s easier to spend time with suffering children when you don’t really know them that well. But it’s hard to walk in and see children you’ve fallen in love with sitting there in their own poop, hungry with runny noses, crying for someone to care.We’ve not only gotten to know the kids, we’ve also been able to get to know many of the workers along with their own personal struggles and pains. When we walk in, we no longer see mammas who are caring poorly for children we see beautiful women, most of whom are really trying. We’ve learned that many of these ladies actually grew up as orphans. Some have shared their stories and it’s no wonder they struggle to show love to these kids… they don’t even know what it feels like to be loved themselves.We have also been exposed to some of the ugliness that goes on in that place beyond what you might see on the surface. Ugliness like sexual abuse, neglect, and unfair, unjust decision made for childrens’ futures. And it’s hard knowing that these things are happening to such precious, innocent kids.There was one point today when I felt completely overwhelmed. Usually there are a few mammas there caring for the kids but today almost all the workers had left for a funeral. When we arrived there was only one mamma to care for all of the children. The place was a zoo. At one point I went over to the giant sand-box to break up a fight between two of the kids. I got to the edge of the box and I felt like I hit a wall.Before me were 12 toddlers sitting in the sandbox filled with garbage and broken, dirty toys. Some of the kids had no pants on, some had dried poop on their legs, some had snot smeared across their faces, some were boys in ratty girls clothes, some had fungal infections on their scalp, some had giant alligator tears streaming down their faces, some were hungry. All were longing for love.That’s when it hit me. I froze as I pictured my baby Brian sitting amongst these children. If he wasn’t with us, that’s where he would be. The image overwhelmed me. It’s hard enough to see these kids suffering, but to picture your own child amongst them tore my heart out. Ok, I know Brian is not ours, but he has been in our care now for almost two months. We are the only thing close to a loving family that he has.The suffering in this place has risen to a personal level for me and today my heart is filled with sorrow. I am sad for every child who has no one to call them their special little someone and no one to hold them when they cry. I’m sad for every child who has never known what it feels like to be loved.Should I stop going to the babies home simply because it causes me this heavy pain in my heart? Should I stop going because it’s hard? I believe that in order to follow Jesus we have to go to the hard places. We have to get acquainted with sorrow. Going to the hard places in this world is difficult and it’s scary, but we must go there because that’s where Jesus went. We must enter into the sorrow because He entered into it first. Think of the scares in Jesus’ hands. Living like Him means we also will leave this world with scares. But remember, because of Jesus’ scares we can know that redemption is on the other side.God, help us to show your love to this world even when it’s difficult. Guide us to and through the hard places and be with us as we enter into the sorrow we encounter along the way. Most of all, we thank-you for going there first. Help us to trust and follow you as our loving guide. Amen